The Art of Looking Busy
written by: Pam Parr, senior strategist
In today’s uncertain economy, even the most respected,
hardest working, dedicated employees can lose their job through no fault of
their own. Over many years of people watching and thousands of hours
working with managers and executives we have learned an amazing truth; busy
people don’t seem to get laid off or fired. Busy people don’t get extra
work assignments. Busy people don’t get ulcers...
Very interesting… These folks aren’t more productive than
you, they’re just busy!! There’s a difference. And you know what it
is. Doesn’t it just frost your cookies when you seem to do the work of 3
and the guy next to you is swamped – but doing what?? At the end of a long
day, you’re the one who’s exhausted, stressed out, worried about how to get
more things done tomorrow, nervous about missing deadlines, etc. etc. etc.
Meanwhile Swamped Sam leaves on time, and with a smile on his face and a
wave of his hand says, “Have a great evening, see you tomorrow.” Rats! Busy
people are sooooo irritating.
Well, as the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”
So, here are some tips on the Art of Looking Busy:
be available. You’re too busy to do that, help with that, or go to
not establish goals of any kind. You run the risk of finishing something.
not explain what you’re working on. When asked, reply with “Oh I don’t have
time to give you details, it’s just way too complicated.”
not file anything or use a trash can. That’s what the top of your desk and
the floor is for.
you own a smart phone, hide it. You don’t want people to get the wrong
impression of you.
So, there you go. Follow these simple rules and I promise
that you will become as ineffective, unproductive, incompetent and
gainfully employed as Sam. Please don’t thank me for saving your job--I
don’t have time to reply!
I’ve just returned from the beautiful state of Wyoming. I
spent 10 wonderful days paddling the rapids of the Snake River, hiking the
trails of the Tetons, and riding horseback up and down the mountain-side.
The only visible sign of my adventures is a black and blue ankle—however my
muscles have been crying out in pain ever since I stepped onto the airplane
that brought me back to Chicago.
Mountains have a way of making people reflect and I was no
exception. Struck by the beauty and the destruction of nature and the
parallels to life—both personal and organizationally, I am compelled to
share a few:
water that destroys crops and homes is the same water that carves the
magnificent canyons and cascades down from on high
wildfires that destroy acres upon acres of forest also create new fertile
decaying toppled trees create homes for the forest creatures
wolves who hunt the elk and bison create sustainable Plaines for the herds
who wreak havoc on our organizational culture, once culled from the herd
make way for emergent optimism and passion
that work against a client-centered culture, once eliminated create the
opportunity for world-class customer service
job you lost creates an opportunity to rediscover what you love to do and
pursue it with renewed passion
In the midst of today’s chaos, be patient, new life will
emerge. Today…commit to create something wonderful.